Opinion letter to the editor

Abolishing Senior House not only alienates current residents but also alumni

Alumna responds to administration’s decisions

To the editor:

By closing Senior House, Chancellor Barnhart and other senior administrators have hurt hundreds of current students. They have also alienated thousands of alumni.

Nearly 1,400 alumni, going back to 1958, signed a letter to Barnhart earlier this month expressing their alarm with the administrative actions regarding Senior House. This a letter which was hand-delivered to her office and cc'ed to other senior administration. As of this writing, on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, there has been no reply. A new letter, with thousands of additional signatures from the MIT community, will soon be delivered.

MIT alumni of all generations — from every dormitory — disagree with the administration's collective punishment and closure of Senior House for the misdeeds of a small handful of students. Many of us believe that Senior House’s unique culture was sadly mischaracterized and misunderstood throughout this process.

Alumni should be the Institute's closest allies. They represent the best of MIT values. They are not the enemy. In addition to donating money to the Institute, these alumni interview prospective undergraduates, mentor MIT graduates, and participate in extended alumni networks in other cities and countries. Many are quitting, because they view not only the decision to close Senior House, but also the secretive and top-down manner in which the decision was made, as anathema to the MIT they love. 

Geeta Dayal ’01